This is the final wedding I filmed over the summer. It was a hot and humid 16 hours of non-stop guerrilla filming, and even though I didn’t wear my suit this time, it really didn’t feel any different!
I was introduced to Lauren and Todd through my brother, who met them in University. I’m pretty sure I met Todd at some point while visiting my brother. I’m about 71.3% sure (let’s see Todd calculate that one! :D). But even if I didn’t, I got to know both Lauren and Todd while filming and during post-production.
It was the first time I got to work with such a sweet couple. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my first two wedding film couples, but something about Lauren and Todd made me want to depict their story differently because of their “chemistry” (haha guys, I made another science joke for you).
Call me a sucker for romance or a big romantic at heart, but a major part of me are put into these wedding films. I say this because in the wise words of wedding photographer extraordinaire, Joe Buissink, “You can’t take a photo without leaving a piece of yourself.” The same rings true for film; every frame is a part of you.
It was the first time I got to use 16-35mm f2.8L and 100-400mm f3.5-4.5L glass. I tried to rent my favorites, but Vistek’s stock was all booked up by the time I made my rental order. Needless to say, the 16-35mm became a quick favorite of mine. I’ve since bought a Sigma 24-105mm f2.8 ART to keep the costs down, but I miss the short focal length of the 16-35mm.
The biggest challenge about this shoot was that Lauren wanted me to be as unobtrusive as possible. I chose glass with long focal lengths so that I could catch the action from afar, but every once in a while, I snuck in close so long as I didn’t get in the way, because shaky footage is inevitable with long shots using only a monopod. The audio was also difficult to capture, so I relied on the soundtrack to tell the story through emotional cues. I also spent more time in post production trying to balance the color temps of all the used clips so that the look would be more uniform. I eyeballed most of it, so it’s not perfect, but I didn’t have enough time to learn SpeedGrade or figure out how Magic Bullet Looks worked. With so many clips coming from different environments, it was difficult to unify temps accurately. The ending title was also a huge blunder; I did it in Premiere using the Pen Mask tool at first, frame by frame. Halfway through, I scrapped the whole idea and did it the right way in After Effects. Even now, I have no idea what I was thinking when I started doing that. So much time wasted, but I sure learned that lesson the hard way! An unexpected issue that I ran into was a lot of the clips were dark, so i had to really bring up the brightness until I was seeing high ISO grain. Since I did this with most of the clips, I used this as my overall look. The couple was so busy that I didn’t get a chance to have them record secret messages for each other. To compensate, I quickly put together two short vignettes during the photo shoots, so I hope they enjoy them.
With three wedding films under my belt, people have asked me why I enjoy making them so much. I recently joked with a fellow photographer that it’s probably because I’ve never been married or in a long-term relationship, so the wonder of marriage is still fun to me. Seriously though, I like it because marriage is a happy occasion for everybody involved. The bride gets to be the most beautiful woman for the day. The groom has to wait with anticipation to see her until the ceremony. There’s bad news in the media everywhere. Would I rather film the news or film a wedding? I guess the choice is just obvious to me.
The other part of it is that I love stories, especially about people. Weddings tell a story, and I get to be a part of that story and tell it to many people. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a filmmaker and that I make films. I’m not just a videographer, because that title is just technology focused. As a filmmaker, I’m an artist and films are my craft. I like to write stories, and film seemed to be the next logical step in my life.
Next year will be interesting, as I will start charging for my services. I wonder how many new couples I will meet?
Check out this project on my Behance portfolio!